Social Media and Healthcare
The internet is changing health care and how we access it. According to recent studies, more and more people are looking online for everything from an explanation of their symptoms to a second opinion, community support to advocacy. “They’re really using the internet as a research platform,” says McKnight’s Employee Benefits Department, “And it’s forecasted to increase over time.”
Forbes reports 60% of doctors use social media as an avenue to deliver better healthcare to patients. (Benefits Specialist Magazine, Franklin, April 2019).
How are employee using social media and medicine?
McKnight: Employees can simply research their symptoms and decide on making a doctor’s appointment based on potential urgency. Employees can also research alternative treatments for a diagnosis. For example, employees can explore is whether nutrition or exercise can eliminate the need for certain medications.
How are Doctors and Clinics using Social Media?
McKnight: Doctors are using social media to research medical devices, pharmaceutical information and biotech data. They also use social media to connect to a variety of different specialists who keep them up to date on cutting-edge treatment options for their patients.
Clinics are using social media to connect patients. Using social media helps establish the doctor or clinic as an expert in their field, which will make their patients more confident in making an appointment and following the medical recommendations.
Organizations can promote their recent research, educate consumers, advertise specialist and services, client testimonials, etc. (Wolfer, A. (2019, April). America's Benefit Specialist April 2019. Retrieved May 20, from http://digitaleditions.sheridan.com/publication/frame.php?i=578561&p=&pn=&ver=html5)
The Bottom Line:
McKnight: Social media is helping patients understand diagnosis and treatment options that are available. It is helping doctors stay on top of all the cutting-edge developments in their field. Finally, social media is helping clinics gain more credibility and trust with their current and future patients. Social media is changing the way we think about and utilize healthcare. Where the future will take us?